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Progress Made in JCPOA Vienna Talks: Araqchi

Iran’s top negotiator in the Vienna talks on the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal said the parties involved in the negotiations have made tangible progress.

Abbas Araqchi, who is also Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs, made the remarks in an interview with Al Jazeera TV, the outlines of which were published on Thursday.

“Good and tangible progress has been made on various issues during Vienna talks. We believe that we are closer to a (final) agreement than any time before, but there are still certain outstanding issues, which need more deliberation,” Araqchi said.

He said all sides must take tough decisions, noting that Tehran has already made this difficult decision by remaining committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, despite the withdrawal of the United States from it.

“If the nuclear deal is still alive, it has been owed to Iran’s actions,” Araqchi added.

“The negotiating parties need to know that Iran has been victimized, and that Washington needs to rectify the path it has already taken in the negotiations,” he added, noting, “Iran has suffered a lot in recent years due to the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal.”

Araqchi noted that Iran wants other parties to the deal to affirm that what happened with former US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal would never happen under other US presidents, Press TV reported.

In another part of the interview, Araqchi touched upon the presidential election in Iran, emphasizing that the outcome of Friday polls and a change in the Iranian administration will have no impact on the outcome of the ongoing talks in Vienna.

He added that the Iranian negotiating team will continue talks based on the country’s domestic policy on this issue.

Araqchi stated that if the Iranian team managed to clinch a good agreement with the other parties, it would be accepted. Otherwise, he added, no agreement would be accepted by Iran either under the incumbent administration or its successor.

The latest round of talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has begun in Vienna on April 6 between Iran and the remaining members of the nuclear deal, namely the UK, France, Russia and China plus Germany.

The US left the JCPOA in 2018 and restored the economic sanctions that the accord had lifted. Tehran retaliated with remedial nuclear measures that it is entitled to take under the JCPOA’s Paragraph 36.

The current negotiations examine the potential of revitalization of the nuclear deal and the US’ likely return to it.

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